I had such high hopes for this week, which should serve as an amber alert for all around me. It’s not as though I organised a street party, or even made any more than one firm arrangement. It was worse than that. I’d all sorts of unchecked madcap lists running through my brain that if I’d allowed the light of reason to fall on them by articulation would have shown themselves to be Unachievable. I wanted the beach, potty-training, galleries, scootering, bike-riding and some household chores.
Some of that miracle list we managed to do, but most of it disappeared along with the sunshine and my equilibrium. I’ve shouted at donkey-handlers, been hit repeatedly by a recalcitrant toddler, been publicly humiliated as the monkey has run screaming in the opposite direction at home-time. More than once buried my head in my hands and had a little weep in exasperation that maybe I have spent so long working that I don’t really know how to handle her. I think every parent has these crises of confidence, whether they work or not. It’s just so very very important to get it right and the only map you have is your own heart. Mine hasn’t always been that reliable.
Last night I tucked the Monkey-face into bed and she asked for me to read the ‘Normous Turnip with her. We read it together in hushed tones as she asked me to read it to her over and over again, her little head on my shoulder as she finger my ear and twirled my hair, her tell-tale sign that she’s tired. She fell asleep quietly and easily still clutching the Enormous Turnip.
I tiptoed into her room this morning to check on her and found her lying there smiling at me, still clutching her copy of The Enormous Turnip as if she’d been patiently lying there all night, waiting for me to come back in and resume reading it. She picked up more books and decided on the Gingerbread Man. This was very productive – we even made a little tune to sing “run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man” to. Then came the time – 730am to be precise – when her Monkeyness decreed she wanted a gingerbread man. By 830am, we’d made and cleaned up after a batch of 20 ninjabread men.
(My lovely cousin bought us a set of ninjabread men cutters.) Tsk and fie, what kind of breakfast is THAT I hear you ask? Well, in the process, we sang the song over and over and the monkey learned that the plural of man is not mans. (I’ve got a cousin who still didn’t know that at 14. Fact.) And it felt like the kind of holiday activity that working mamas would get up to with their kids in their downtime.
Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the ninjabread man.